Aug 7, 2009

Top clunker buys include trucks and SUV’s

From a CNN Money report:

What are people trading their clunkers in for? It depends on who you ask.

The government's results showed small cars as the top choice for shoppers looking for Cash for Clunker deals. But an independent analysis by disputed those results, and showed that two full-size trucks and a small crossover SUV were actually among the top-ten buys.

The differences between the method used by Edmunds and the arcane measurement used by the government is explained at the link below.

Ford Escape ranked #1

Ford F-150 ranked #5

Chevrolet Silverado ranked #7

The most purchased vehicles under Cash for Clunkers when 2WD and 4WD versions are included:

1. Ford Escape
2. Ford Focus
3. Jeep Patriot
4. Dodge Caliber
5. Ford F-150
6. Honda Civic
7. Chevrolet Silverado
8. Chevrolet Cobalt
9. Toyota Corolla
10. Ford Fusion

Physicians jammed Houston town hall meeting

About 90 physicians jammed a town hall meeting in The Woodlands, near Houston, expressing fears about the cost and effectiveness of a health care reform bill that could come up for a vote in Congress as early as September.

In the photo above Congressman Kevin Brady holds a copy of the mega-page Obama health care plan. Below is the ObamaCare organizational chart shown in the photo above. The chart shows how complicated and ambiguous Mr. Obama’s socialized medicine plan really is.

(click on chart to enlarge)

It promises to be as inefficient as Amtrack and the Post Office rolled into one! However, there is one big difference -- we don’t go to Amtrack or the Post Office for our healthcare needs!

“The bottom line is that doctors don't want socialized medicine — another flawed health care system like Medicare. They don't believe it will lower the costs or improve quality,” Brady said. “Medicare is already going bankrupt and not quality care. It also shifts medical costs onto other paying customers. It needs to be fixed first.”


Eye popping parade returns to Tokyo

Members of the Japanese performance group "Medaman-Medaman" wearing large eyeballs walk around the Roppongi Hills shopping mall in Tokyo.

Shoppers in the area enjoyed various street performances as Japan's annual week-long "Golden Week" holiday began last spring.

Clunkers program nearly hit a speed bump

Tom Harkin (pictured), a Democratic Senator from Iowa nearly delayed additional funding for the Cash for Clunkers program for at least one month.

A report at the link below says the effort to inject another two billion dollars into the Cash for Clunkers program nearly hit a road block in the Senate that could have killed or delayed the bill.

The Harkin amendment would have limited clunker rebates to individuals with annual incomes of $50,000 or less.

Republicans threw their support behind the amendment giving it a good chance of passing -- unless the majority of Democrats, who mostly favored the amendment, voted against it.

Why would the Democrats vote against the amendment they all favored?

If the Harkin amendment passed in the Senate, the House would have needed to take up the bill again.

The problem with that is the House has already adjourned for its August recess.
Did Sen. Harkin not think his amendment through in his haste to put his name on something or is he simply not the brightest bulb in the chandelier?

Anyway, by voting against an amendment they wanted, the Democrats averted a Cash for Clunkers roadblock allowing them to vote an additional two billion dollars to keep the program going until the August recess is over.


Aug 6, 2009

Senate sends Sotomayor to Supreme Court

The Senate sends the self-described “wise Latina woman” to the Supreme Court.

Democrats praised the 55-year-old Sotomayor as a mainstream moderate.

Most Republicans voted against her, saying she'd bring personal bias and a liberal agenda to the bench.


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Former congressman could get 150 years in prison

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Former Democrat congressman William Jefferson from New Orleans, Louisiana faces a maximum possible sentence of 150 years in prison.

Amelia Earhart mystery solved?

It has been 72 years since famed aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared while attempting to fly around the world.

Earhart is pictured above. She is also shown below with her Lockheed Electra airplane.

Some claim Earhart and Noonan survived the crash of their Lockheed Electra but were captured and killed by Japanese soldiers. Still others have said they were eaten by cannibals.

But the mystery remains unsolved: Nobody knows exactly what happened to Earhart or her plane.

Now researchers at the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery or Tighar, say they are on the verge of recovering DNA evidence that would demonstrate Earhart had been stranded on Nikumaroro Island (formerly known as Gardner Island) before finally perishing there.

During May and June of next year, Tighar will launch a new $500,000 expedition, continuing the archaeological work it has been doing on the island since 2001.

More of the story here.

Culture of corruption: former congressman convicted

Former Congressman William Jefferson (pictured) was convicted Wednesday on 11 of 16 criminal counts filed against him — including charges that he accepted bribes and engaged in money laundering while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jefferson was a Democrat who represented constituents in New Orleans Louisiana. He was convicted Wednesday on 11 of the 16 corruption charges against him in a case that included the discovery of $90,000 cash in his freezer.

A federal court jury convicted Jefferson on four bribery counts, three counts of money laundering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of racketeering. He was acquitted on five other counts including wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Jefferson had pleaded not guilty. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 150 years in prison, with sentencing tentatively set for October 30.


Democrat attacks on what WH perceives as attacks on ObamaCare

When Washington Democrats begin to see opposition to any of their programs, it is usually perceived as “mob attacks” that must be stopped.

The White House launched a coordinated effort Tuesday to combat what it calls a “viral whisper campaign” to torpedo health care reform.

Its playbook: the same one Barack Obama’s campaign used in 2008 to shoot down rumors and questions about his citizenship, faith and patriotism.

It worked then by neutralizing charges regarding Mr. Obama’s citizenship as well as the fact that Obama is a Muslim and refused to say the pledge of allegiance.

Now, it appears that the Obama administration wants Americans to report any of their relatives, friends and neighbors who are opposed to ObamaCare.

Additionally, the administration is making it sound like any opposition to ObamaCare from citizens attending town hall meetings held by administration officials is caused by thugs as reported by Politico at the link below:

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse both saying a series of confrontational town hall meetings were manufactured by Republicans, conservative groups and lobbyists who are paid to drum up opposition.

Woodhouse described them as “angry mobs of rabid right-wing extremists” that populated McCain-Palin rallies last year.

Tuesday was just the start of the offensive, White House aides said.

For the record -- the people attending the McCain-Palin rallies last year were cheering crowds of ordinary people who liked what the conservative candidates were saying.

They were just the opposite of “angry mobs of rabid right-wing extremists!”

This is not your father’s Democratic Party!


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They are out of control! Report them! Arrest them!

Aug 5, 2009

UFO Festival Alien Pet Costume Contest

A pup named Meatball lets out a big yawn while awaiting the start of the 2009 UFO Festival Alien Pet Costume Contest last month at the Roswell Convention Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

Meatball took 2nd place in the contest. Ya gotta love the name of that dog!

Poll: 71% say Obama’s policies have increased deficit

Americans can see through Obama’s plan to spend his way out of a recession.
Only 5% of respondents to a recent Rasmussen Reports survey say Obama’s policies have cut the deficit, and 10% say they have had no impact. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Eighty percent (80%) of investors say Obama’s policies have driven up the deficit, a view shared by just 57% of non-investors.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of U.S. voters say President Obama’s policies have increased the size of the federal deficit, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

A plurality of voters (37%) say cutting the federal deficit in half in the next four years is number one among the four priorities the president listed in a speech to Congress in February, but 66% view it as the goal he is least likely to achieve.


A Kansas wind farm viewed from I-70

(click on picture for another view)

The state of Kansas has several wind farms. The most visible wind farm is near Ellsworth.

The wind turbines can be seen for more than 20 miles along the north side of Interstate 70.

He followed me home can I keep him?

This unusual photo picture appears to show a little girl about to be attacked by a 370 pound Royal White Bengal Tiger.

Actually, the girl is safe. The girl and tiger are separated by a thick pane of glass at Cougar Mountain Zoo, near Seattle, Washington.

The change Obama promised

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Aug 4, 2009

North Korea pardons US journalists

North Korean President Kim Jong Ill has issued pardons for the two US journalists who have been detained in the country.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee (pictured) were arrested on March 17 near the North Korea border.

Both Ling and Lee worked for Al Gore’s San Francisco-based Current TV and were in the country working on a story about human trafficking along the Tumen River border area between China and North Korea.

The North Korean government convicted the pair on June 8 of illegally entering into and committing "grave crimes" against the country.

The pardon and imminent release follows former President Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea on Monday.

The White House has said the Clinton visit was a private trip.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs flatly denied that Clinton carried a message from Obama, telling reporters, "That's not true."

How can it be a private trip
when he is a former president and his wife is the Secretary of State?

One wonders what Obama promised the North Korean leader in exchange for the release of the journalists.

There is no way Kim Jong Ill would have released the girls out of the goodness of his heart.

Link here and here.

Administration withholding data on clunkers

A report at the link below says the Obama administration is refusing to release government records on its "cash-for-clunkers" rebate program. Yet the White House is pressing the Senate for a quick vote for another $2 billion to boost car sales.

Senators should demand this data which could substantiate or undercut White House claims of the program's success.

Besides replacing low-mileage vehicles with more fuel-efficient vehicles, the clunker program was intended to help the sale of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors vehicles. It hasn’t.

Ford Focus so far is at the top of the list of new cars purchased under the program. But the limited information released so far shows most buyers are not picking Ford, Chrysler or General Motors vehicles, and six of the top 10 vehicles purchased are Honda, Toyota and Hyundai.

More here.

Alvin Dark: an act of God to win

Former manager Alvin Dark was asked to compare teams he managed over the years.

Dark replied:

With the A's we depended on pitching and speed to win.

With the Giants we depended on pitching and power to win.

With the Indians we depended on an act of God to win.

Elephant wash

A firefighter hoses down an Asian elephant from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus in Philadelphia last May.

Aug 3, 2009

Windsock on house in Enterprise Kansas

Not all city dwellers have windsocks on their rooftops.

No global warming in New York City

The New York Times reports that in New York City it’s the summer that isn’t.The Times report says:

It’s a gross, grungy, disgusting summer-in-the-city tradition: the muggy 90-degree day or, worse still, the 99-degree day.

But this summer has been conspicuously different in New York City. Not one 99-degree day in Central Park. Not a single day that the temperature even approached 90.

For just the second time in 140 years of record keeping, the temperature failed to reach 90 in either June or July.


Al Gore couldn’t be reached for comment - he was probably too busy cleaning his office (shown below).

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Cash for clunkers so good it needs to shut down?

A report on ABC News, at the first link below, wonders if the cash for clunkers program will hit the scrap heap this week along with the clunker cars.

A Time Magazine report, at the second link below, says:

The government's cash-for-clunkers program appears to be working like a charm, so — time to shut it down. Good old Washington!

It appears that inadequate planning may doom the program about as soon as it began.

Will ObamaCare suffer from the same flawed planning?

Link here and here.

2 Obama officials won’t guarantee no tax hike for middle-class

An Associated Press report at the link below says that two Obama administration officials have said they can't guarantee middle-class Americans won't see tax hike.

Translation: there will be a tax hike for middle-class Americans to go along with the promised tax hike for higher wage earners.

As the White House sought to balance campaign rhetoric with governing, officials appeared willing to extend unemployment benefits.

With former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan saying he is "pretty sure we've already seen the bottom" of the recession, Obama aides sought to defend the economic stimulus and calm a jittery public.

If the Obama administration must rely on Alan Greenspan’s opinion that the we have seen the bottom of the recession, we are surely in deeper trouble than we thought.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama's intentions about taxes.

Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to lower the federal deficit; Summers said Obama's proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere.

More at the link below.

We wonder if the old Democrat label tax and spend liberal should be changed to tax and squander liberal?


Aug 2, 2009

The Lincoln penny is 100 years old today

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny, the longest-running U.S. coin still in circulation.

The U.S. Mint had been producing one-cent coins since its founding in 1792, but the 1909 penny (which replaced the Indian-head coin) was the first coin on which a President's likeness appeared.

President Teddy Roosevelt commissioned the coin to celebrate the 100th birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

Most people were in favor of the new Lincoln coin. However, former Confederate soldiers were not happy about the prospect of carrying the image of Lincoln in their pockets. After all, Lincoln was the President of an “enemy country” during the Civil War.

According to a Time Magazine online report - pennies can often be more trouble than they're worth.

While a 1909 penny could send a postcard or buy a few eggs, in 2009 it can't even purchase itself: the U.S. Mint spends 1.4 cents on every penny it produces. "When people start leaving a monetary unit at the cash register for the next customer, that unit is too small to be useful," argued Harvard economics professor Gregory Mankiw in a 2006 Wall Street Journal article.

Arizona representative Jim Kolbe introduced the 2002 Legal Tender Modernization Act to Congress, which would have eliminated the penny. The bill failed miserably.

In response to the copper coin's declining value, some stores have stopped accepting it as a form of payment.

In 2007, a New York City man was so incensed when a Chinese restaurant refused to let him pay for his dinner with 10 pennies (along with other cash) that he persuaded a state senator to draft a bill requiring pennies to be accepted everywhere and at all times. (The bill was not passed.)

Though pennies may be more trouble than they are worth, don’t look for them to disappear anytime soon.